Breaking The Trauma Bond After Narcissistic Abuse.

”You found the coping mechanisms to survive the relationship. You will find them to survive the recovery.”

First, congratulate yourself for getting out or recognising the need to leave them. It is far from easy. Listening to your instincts instead of your heart and the trauma bond is an incredibly hard thing to do. You’re well on your way to a better life for you, even if it doesn’t feel like that at the start, believe in yourself you’ve got out of a very abusive traumatic relationship, if you have left them, or they’ve left you for someone new if you are looking for answers that are the best place to start.

No, even if you’re feeling slightly Crazy right now. Without at least five of the nine criteria you are not a narcissist.

So how do you get over them?

Right now, you may hate them, you know they stole from you, mentally and some physically abused you, lied to you, cheated on you, yet you’ve been back and forth a few times, you now see that they are a narcissist and you just can not stop thinking about them.

It’s incredibly annoying. I know it all too well; I’ve been through it also.

Your pride and ego have taken a massive blow, that you let them get away with so much, that you put all that time and effort into yourself to change to who they wanted you to be. They still didn’t care for your thoughts or feelings, that they sold you a Dream and then delivered you a nightmare. Yet, you went back for more, you tried to help them, and at every turn, they Twist it back onto why you were at fault, you feel bad within yourself that you allowed them to treat you that way, you also feel horrible for those moments you might have Reacted to them at times.

You can be left with deep pain, shame and bitterness, in your mind and heart. You might be thinking you desperately need them back.

So you need to break the trauma bond.

When you’ve been in a relationship where one day you are worshipped and the next you’re being ignored.

One minute they’re nice, the next they’re hurling abuse towards you.

One minute they’re there, the next they are gone.

One minute they shower you with flattery. The next, they’re withholding attention, affection and support.

One minute they’re your hero. The next, they’re your worst nightmare.

Those highs and lows of a relationship with a narcissist actually release the chemicals such as oxytocin, which encourages the bonding, endogenous opioids – responsible for pleasure, pain, withdrawal, dependence; a corticotropin-releasing factor which to help with our stress response, cortisol from being placed into flight or fight; and dopamine which is connected to the craving, seeking, wanting the narcissist back, even when they’ve caused you extreme pain.

The experience is exceptionally traumatic if they were horrible towards you all the time and were never nice to you. You’d just not like them. When someone is mean to you and says they hate you, it’s easy to see what they are doing to you.

When someone is so manipulative and cruel towards you yet claims it’s for your own good, because they love you, it’s mind-blowing because they come along sweeping you off your feet, making your life amazing, you fall madly in love with them. They push you away and down into depths of despair. They come and rescue you all over again, so the cycle begins and continues until you break it, which might seem impossible right now, but believe me, it is possible. Others have done it before you, and so will you.

There is nothing wrong with you, it’s human nature. It’s the power the narcissist has over you. You can break that power, and you are in control of yourself.

You can escape, and you can break free. You can break that trauma bond. Another way to do this is to work through every single emotion you have got.

Another method to try is radical acceptance.

When you stop fighting reality and dig deep into every little thing that happened to you, going deep into your soul no matter how hard, or how much you want to run from the pain, those thoughts and feelings, sometimes the best way out is the hardest route out but gives you a much better recovery.

You may be suffering anger and resentment towards the person that hurt you, towards others, and towards the world at large. Holding onto your anger will not help your healing. Your resentment is intense. You want the other person to know just how much they’ve hurt you. They either don’t recognise that they hurt you and blame you or if they do, your anger towards them only distracts them from their own failings and guilt. Taking it out on them will not teach them. It will only hurt you more.

This doesn’t mean you have to accept them. Embrace them. This means you stand up for yourself with respect towards yourself, you move forward with your life, stronger, wiser, and with the knowledge you didn’t have before. Strengthen your support system, rebuild and strengthen your Boundaries, stand up for yourself in effective ways.

If you are angry with yourself, the same applies. Move on with what you’ve learned and forgive yourself.

Radical acceptance doesn’t mean you have to accept what happened or agree to what happened. It means no longer fighting reality. Now you know what happened, acknowledging and accepting what happened was real.

The same goes for radical acceptance within your own behaviours, things that have knocked your own pride over the course of the relationship. The truth is you did what you did at the moment, you reacted how most people would, you may have gone into one of the Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn, survival modes, you don’t have to approve or agree with your actions or take them back, you just have to accept you did what you did at the moment often with good intentions, and then, take the lesson from it and move forward with your life.

Sometimes holding onto anger and resentment means you’re protecting yourself from your true feelings. If you’re hurt and sad, feeling angry is covering up and not allowing you to let out the more profound pain, the deeper hurt and the deeper suffering. You have to allow yourself time to grieve correctly.

Sometimes we do forget and forgive too easily and go back to those who hurt us as in that moment they’re making us happy again. The answer to this is you’ve tried that before. How did it work out for you? If you’re the same as me, it just resulted in more suffering, it might be incredibly hard right now, but you need to take your life into a different direction, as that one is not working out for you.

You have to take ownership, and accept the whole thing, no matter who was to blame, who caused all that hurt, pain and anger, you have to accept ownership of reality, accept and forgive yourself, and pass the responsibility back to the rightful owner for their actions, within your mind as it’s not all your fault and no matter what’s happened no one should treat you the way a narcissist has.

It’s hard for the ego to let go of the games, not to want to defend yourself. Sometimes it ends up being like sibling rivalry. They took this that and the other from me, so to make myself feel better, I need to take x y and z from them.

The narcissist will enjoy you trying to do that, the best thing you can do is move on for yourself, leave them be, let them have what they have as they’ll never be happy, you can start over, you’re never too old, and it’s never too late, you can create your happiness again.

You need to tell yourself the whole truth, which can be hard when you’re in a trauma bond. There may be lots of things you did and said that’s unlike the true you, and you wish you hadn’t, there will be things that happened to you, which you’ll want never to do, but they did, so accept them all, grieve them all, let them all out, process each one, then leave it in the past where it belongs, and find your new dreams now.

You need to be objective, don’t run away from the grief, the sadness and the loss, take it on, accept it.

Narcissists can not be helped, and they can not be rescued. If you still love them or hate them, you have to work through it all.

No one can love them more to make them hurt people less. The more you play their games, the more pain you’ll suffer. You need to accept and let go of the idea you can help them.

You need to let go of what could have been and accept what is.

”You have to let go of the belief. It could have been different.”

You need to let go of those false dreams.

You’ve got to want to heal the trauma bond, anxiety, and the CPTSD, then move forward with your life. Only you can do this when you’re ready to.

You can, and you will. (Sponsored.)

Letting go

Signs of the trauma bond.

Breaking the trauma bond.

Anger and resentment.


Click on the links below to join, Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach on social media, for more information on Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse.

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Click here to sign up for the full, Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse, with a link in the course to a free, hidden online support group with fellow survivors. 

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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


9 thoughts on “Breaking The Trauma Bond After Narcissistic Abuse.

    1. Thank you, think I’ve found them all (no editor, my dyslexia like to make writing so much fun, so it’s appreciated when people let me know, as it helps others who read them.

      Hope you are doing ok, always remember to either do something that makes you laugh or smile after processing the past, to shift your state of mind if needed or look for things you have to be grateful for.

    2. My grandchildren are trapped by a narcissistic Mother. They are 14 & 15 yrs. I’m afraid it is making them very upset because of the abuse. I can’t help. Don’t know what to do for them.

  1. Excellent word to describe this read; cathartic. And right on time follow up response.. shift that mindset. Thankyou LADIES. peace & love

  2. Thank you very helpful, you’ve truly described everything. I understand. I’ve read and listen to everything on this post. I’m tired of feeling stuck and trying to rebuild. It been a challenging and A slow process. It’s been two years since my divorce was married for 24 years. . Having a hard time connecting, wanting to have a relationship again. But don’t let myself get close to Men. For fear of getting hurt again. Or a men want more than I can give. And. That makes it complicated. So I tend to Put all the men in a friend zone. I feel like I’m still trying to break through the trauma sometimes and Overcoming it

  3. Elizabeth – I would really appreciate getting in touch with you, personally. I have a similar story and have some thoughts to share.

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